Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pyrotechnics and Dessert

A favorite dessert at our house is a creme brulee but because of the richness and decadence of it, we save it for special occasions. I deem the Mother-In-Law coming for dinner befitting such a dessert so that's what I made one Sunday.

All went along nicely as I used a new recipe found in my favorite dessert cookbook, Baking - From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan. This custard recipe was so much easier to make than other creme brulee recipes I have tried and with the simplest of ingredients; cream, milk, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla. What simplifies this recipe from others was that there was no cooking them in a water bath.

When dinner was completed and it was time for the piece de la resistance, I asked The Husband to get the torch so we could brulee the cremes. Unfortunately I do not own a nice hand held kitchen torch so he went to the garage and brought in the BIG propane torch. We brought the creme brulees into the dining room where the torch was ceremoniously lit. It immediately flared up into a shooting flame of approximately 2-3 feet feet while The Husband, holding said torch in his hand, bravely blew away at it trying to put out this inferno in the middle of the dining room. Disaster was barely averted as the flames subsided and went out. With shaky hands, my brave man lit up that flaming beast again (out on the driveway this time) and was able to get a manageable flame and finish up the job of caramelizing the tops of our desserts. After composing ourselves, we proceeded to enjoy the creme brulees even though the dining room had a distinct smell of singed arm hair!

Creme Brulee

1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
About 6 Tbsp sugar or sifted light brown sugar for topping

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 200 deg F. Put 6 baking dishes (I used small custard cups) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bring the cream and the milk just to a boil.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla together until well blended but not airy. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 of the hot liquid to temper the yolks so they won't curdle. Whisking, slowly pour in the remainder of the hot liquid. Give the bowl a rap on the counter to de-bubble the content. Strain it into the baking dishes.Bake the custards for 50-60 minutes or until the centers are set-tap the sides of the dish, and the custards should hold firm. Lift the dishes onto a cooling rack and let the custards cool until they reach room temperature.

Cover each dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably longer. When ready to serve, sprinkle 1 Tbsp of sugar on one dish at a time evenly, then brown the sugar, cooking it until it bubbles and colors. Wait until the bubbles subside before serving.


KandN said...

Giggle! Love the story! Reminds me of a barbecue grill experience N had once.

KandN said...

Can you send your email to karla.jansenmiller@gmail.com?

Jennie said...

Love it!!! I once had a hand torch but now cannot find it. My husband too has a 'torch from the garage'; I read him this passage and we giggled together. Thanks for the warning. Did you use a bain-marie to cook the custard?

whack patti said...

Yum! Call the fire department! Or just call yourself!